Professor Winette van der Graaf led the Clinical and Translational Sarcoma Team at The Institute of Cancer Research and was an honorary consultant in medical oncology at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. She led and is built up the Clinical and Translational Sarcoma Team at the ICR, and specialised in developing new therapies to improve outcomes for sarcoma patients.
She has participated in many clinical studies in sarcoma and led the pivotal phase III trial with pazopanib for soft tissue sarcoma, which led to registration by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in this indication.
Professor Van der Graaf was born, raised and trained in The Netherlands, where she worked until September 2015, when she was appointed at the ICR and The Royal Marsden. She graduated in medicine from the University of Groningen in 1986. She subsequently trained in internal medicine, which she combined with her PhD on circumvention of multidrug resistance in cancer.
She trained as a medical oncologist in 1992 and 1993, became a member of staff in the department of medical oncology at University Medical Center in Groningen, and in 2000 was appointed as Associate Professor. In 2007 she moved to the Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, where she was appointed first as Professor of Translational Medical Oncology and, from 2010, as Head of the Department of Medical Oncology and Professor of Medical Oncology. She held these positions until she moved to London.
Professor Van der Graaf has led the Dutch training programme for medical oncologists, and has been supervisor of many fellows in training for medical oncology and PhD students. She has published more than 350 scientifically peer-reviewed manuscripts in journals including CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, The Lancet, Lancet Oncology, Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cancer Research and Clinical Cancer Research.
Professor Van der Graaf has been board member of the Dutch Society of Medical Oncology, was co-founder and board member of the Dutch multidisciplinary oncologists’ society SONCOS and initiated and chairs the Dutch adolescent and young adult cancer patients’ programme AYA4net.
She has sat on the board of the EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone sarcoma Group for many years, and chaired this group from 2011-2014. She has been on many scientific oncological programme committees in the Netherlands and for Sarcoma Tracks of ECCO and ESMO. She is an advisor to SPAEN, the Dutch and European sarcoma patients advocate groups, and the Synovial Sarcoma Foundation.
She is known for her innovations in the care for adolescents and young adults and co-founded the Radboud Elderly Cancer programme in 2015. For her, personalised oncology is a combination of precision medicine and adapting treatment and care to the needs of cancer patients of different ages.
She still has a small appointment at the Radboud University Medical Center to stimulate joint sarcoma research with the ICR and research on age-related aspects of cancer with The Royal Marsden. She worked as a Consultant Medical Oncologist in The Royal Marsden sarcoma team and had close links with the Drug Development Unit at the ICR and The Royal Marsden, headed by Professor Johann de Bono, with the aim of accelerating early clinical studies in sarcoma.